Former President Daniel Mark Fogel
August 28, 2008
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
I am writing once again to welcome the community to the new academic year and to urge all who can to join the first-year undergraduate class at 6:00 p.m. on Monday the 1st of September for Convocation at the Patrick Gym: music, an academic procession, a brief film on things we love about UVM, ceremonial greetings, a talk by Ron Suskind (author of A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League, which our new students and many of the rest of us will have read), a parade paced by taiko drummers to the University Green, the Twilight Induction for the Class of 2012, and then an array of “Welcome to UVM” activities at the Davis Center (see http://www.uvm.edu/president/ceremonies/convocation/). Although Convocation is free, it is a ticketed event because of the limited capacity of the Patrick Gym: first-year students will be given their tickets by their resident advisers; for all others, tickets are available at the Hoffman Information Desk at the Davis Center on the schedule posted at http://www.uvm.edu/~presdent/ceremonies/convocation/?Page=tickets.html.
This fall some 2,450 new first-year undergraduates join the UVM family—well over a 100,000 strong, counting some 90,000 alumni, plus parents, grandparents, and many friends— along with hundreds of transfer students, of new graduate and professional students, and of new faculty and staff. To our new students, especially, we send with this heartfelt welcome an urgent call to be active in taking good care of yourselves and of each other, just as we expect you to be active in pursuing your own intellectual and personal development here at UVM. Active learning and active engagement in upholding the respect due to others and the well-being of those around us are hallmarks of UVM’s Think-Care-Act Campaign (see http://www.uvm.edu/~safeuvm/).
This fall will bring to UVM an exciting array of lectures and of cultural and athletic events: don’t miss, for example, the Aiken Lecture on October 15 by Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland—former (and first woman) Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the World Health Organization—who will speak on “Holistic Solutions to Global Environmental Problems”; lectures in the Burack President’s Distinguished Lecture Series in many fields, including history, computer science, pediatrics, mathematics, and physics (see the complete schedule to date at http://www.uvm.edu/~presdent/?Page=DLS/DLScurrent.html) and by Marsh Professors at Large in geology and history (for a description of the University’s program for distinguished non-resident professors see http://www.uvm.edu/president/marsh/); the launch of the UVM Theatre season in early October with the production of Susan Ruhl’s contemporary version of Eurydice (a “devastatingly lovely—and just plain devastating—theatrical gloss on the Orpheus myth by the inventive young playwright,” said the New York Times reviewer in 2006—see the UVM Theatre web site at http://www.uvmtheatre.org/); world-class performers in UVM’s performance series, the Lane Series, from brilliant monologists to jazz and chamber music (for the complete list see http://www.uvm.edu/~dceweb/lane/events.php); and the kick-off of another round of winning seasons for UVM’s academically talented student-athletes, winners late this spring of an unprecedented fourth straight America East Academic Cup: cheer them on at home openers for field hockey (September 13), men’s and women’s soccer (September 5 and August 29, respectively), women’s swimming (November 15), men’s and women’s basketball (November 15 and 14, respectively), and men’s and women’s hockey (October 5); for the full NCAA athletics schedule, see http://www.uvm.edu/~sportspr/?Page=main_schedule.php). The nearly 150 student organizations are geared up for another year of activities, and we urge all students—and above all the newcomers to UVM—to get involved (to get started, see http://www.uvm.edu/~sgaclubs/). Homecoming and Family Weekend on October 2-5 will provide a rich array of lectures, panels on “Building Organizations that Make a Difference” (to which students in all majors are invited), the traditional concert by UVM’s terrific a cappella groups, athletic contests, and much more, including a lecture by Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent (for the full schedule, see http://alumni.uvm.edu/homecoming/schedule.asp).
The new academic year sees a continuing and steady drumbeat of recognition by observers outside UVM of the continuing rise in the academic reputation and quality of the University. Just since last spring, we have seen the Medical College ranked fifth in the nation in Primary Care by U. S. News & World Report and we have seen UVM named as one of the nation’s “Top 25 Environmentally Responsible Schools” in the 2009 Kaplan College Guide, as one of the nation’s 10 greenest universities by Forbes, and as number 3 in the nation in Sierra magazine’s cover-story list of the “10 Coolest Schools” in a Green College Guide feature focused on the quality of the ranked institutions’ environmental practices, initiatives, and programs. Meanwhile, in the same period, our faculty continue to reap major national awards, including John Todd (Rubenstein School), the winner of the first annual Buckminster Fuller Challenge; Jean Harvey-Berino (Agriculture and Life Sciences), winner of the 2008 James Beard Foundation book award in the “Healthy Focus” category for the EatingWell Diet (which combines EatingWell magazine’s healthful recipes with Harvey-Berino’s behavior modification program, Vtrim, funded by the National Institutes of Health); and Rex Forehand (Arts & Sciences), winner of the American Psychology Association’s 2008 Award for Distinguished Career Contributions to Education and Training. Meanwhile, in a new ranking developed by PayScale.com and published in Business Week, UVM has ranked 40th in the nation (among more than 2,500 four-year colleges and universities) in the salaries of its graduates who hold only bachelor’s degrees, and 7th in the nation among more than 600 public colleges and universities. Is it any wonder that the incoming first-year class of undergraduates is the most talented and diverse in UVM’s history, a cohort bound to build on the outstanding achievements of the wonderful students who have come before them?
For students enrolling at UVM in new courses of study, whether as first-year undergraduates or as graduate or professional students, this fall semester marks a new phase full of high promise. To them we offer encouragement to make the most of every opportunity to fulfill that promise. We say the same thing to continuing students. The themes and information I have conveyed here are by no means exhaustive and in many ways only scratch the surface of the vibrant life of this extraordinary University. Stay connected, stay engaged, and be an active participant in all that our dynamic educational community has to offer. Finally, to our colleagues on the faculty and staff of The University of Vermont, we extend our warmest thanks for all you are doing to fulfill UVM’s promise as a truly exceptional place for learning and discovery.
Daniel Mark Fogel
Last modified October 05 2008 08:35 AM